It seems the Fiddle Leaf Fig aka Ficus Lyrata is the most desired house plant on the block.
The Fiddle Leaf Fig is native to Western Africa and typically grows in lowland tropical rainforests, but more and more we are seeing it thrive in suburban dining rooms and chic homes, from LA to NYC.
I have collected three Fiddle Leaf Fig trees. Two in my office and one at home. I suppose it just didn’t feel right until I had three “statement” house plants. Betsy also has three, my mother, a real gardener, has only one.
Here is a look at one of the multi-stem trees in my office.
Here are a few more fiddle leaf figs in interiors we admire.
This one is bananas beautiful.
Can you believe the trunk on this one?
I got kind of lucky with my fiddle leaf fig scores.
My Mom has an old friend that is in the nursery business and he sold us 5 plants. Two of them were single stem (topiary). These are, in my opinion, the most desirable look. So, my Mom and I each got one of those. The remaining plants were multi-stem and I adopted one in my office and another in my dining room.
Betsy found her 15 year old Fiddle Leaf Fig, pictured above, via Craigslist. This was a major score at $85, but the old tree did not enjoy it’s move to a new location. It wasn’t long until the plant had dropped all of its leaves. After almost four years to recuperate, the tree is only now starting to appear full and healthy again, and really only on the bottom portion where it receives the most sunlight. She has had her doubts, but never gives up. She credits routine watering and the sunniest corner as the key to its recovery.
If you are interested in the ficus lyrata, here are some sources to purchase:
- Home Depot sells them (pic above by Kelly Robson of High Street Market)
- IKEA has a young single stem plant for only $13
- Houston Interior Plants sells them in 14″ pots
- Lowe’s is also known to stock them from time to time
How about going faux?
If your thumb isn’t green, or you have tried and failed enough times to give up, here are a few faux fiddle leaf fig options for you.
The most pressing issue concerning the Fiddle Leaf Fig by far is the care of the plant. It appears to be a bit finicky but is it really? Thanks to Instagram I know that EOS blogger Erin Gates has lost at least one, the McGrath ladies from Good Bones, Great Pieces are wondering why the spots are appearing on the leaves of their fig tree and Jenny from LGN recently wrote about buying a tree and the care that works for her tree.
This is what I’ve discovered, you have to get to know your plant and through trial and error see what works. For some that is risky but if you don’t let the tree travel too far down the wrong road then you aren’t likely to lose it.
This is what works for my trees.
- my tree receives direct sunlight
- I turn the plant every couple of months
- I water just enough to run out of the bottom of the pot twice a week (translates to roughly 2 cups a week) sometimes only once a week. I take special care to never over-water.
What I’ve observed when the plant is mistreated.
- if not turned or subjected to balanced light, the leaves may burn
- if the plant is given too little water it will defoliate (drop leaves)
- if the plant sits in water or is watered too frequently it will defoliate and the leaves will turn yellow and then brown, over-watering seems to be the most common mistake
Additionally I would recommend:
- re-potting the plant, I need to do this with all 3 of my trees. There are garden centers that will do this for you if you don’t have the tools or if you have a large plant
- fertilizing with a time release fertilizer twice a year, use something like Osmocote
- wiping the leaves periodically because they get dusty sitting in the house/apartment
I don’t think there is any reason to shy away from this tree especially when you can score one for $20.
Here are some more informational scores we’ve stumbled upon while researching care for our own plant.
ADVICE ON PRUNING A MULTI-STALK FIDDLE LEAF FIG
If you want it bushy, remove the apical meristems (growing tips). I would prune so the thickest stem is the tallest, the next thickest about 2/3 the ht of the tallest, and the thinnest about 1/2 the ht of the tallest. Once the Source of the growth regulator (auxin) that suppresses lateral growth is removed (by removing the growing tips of the stems) the plant will back-bud. When the new branches have 3-4 leaves on them, prune the branches back to 2 leaves, This is the fastest/best way to maximize ramification (branch/foliage density).
If you intend to separate the plants, now is the best time of year to do it, and no harm should come to the individual plants if you root-prune and divide, as long as you follow a few simple repotting guidelines. Repotting and root work is an essential part of keeping potted trees healthy, and the timing of the work you do on your trees can have a significant impact on how quickly they recover.
— From a Commenter on this Houzz Forum